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Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2 - The Toxic Shower Pan

Our Bathroom Remodel – Episode 2: The Toxic Shower Pan


Well, things look pretty much the same in the bathroom this weekend, but boy do they smell different!

Saturday morning a nice man came bright and early to supposedly line the new shower pan with fiberglass. What it smells like he did was just fill the room with 20 gallons of 1970’s nail polish remover….remember the good stuff before there were FDA regulations on that kind of thing?


Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage

My husband spent the entire weekend insisting he couldn’t smell anything because his nose is stuffy. I spent the weekend completely fume drunk and doing things like yelling at the 5yo for saying “the man killed his wife” only to have the 9yo correct me by saying, “Mom, he just said that the can is white!”

Time to get out of the house!

First it’s time to shower and get ready. Perhaps I should go downstairs and grab some new towels first since the 9yo decided to clean up her ‘what happens if you let clay soak in the sink?” experiment with one of mine and I don’t even want to know what the one on the floor was used for.


Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage


And of course, the search for clothes involves looking through a series of three different closets and underneath the cats who continue to show their respect for our belongings in their own special way.

Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage

It was a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree weekend in Austin. Where should we go for some fresh air and get a break from home improvements? Down to the lake? Perhaps a fun park or a stroll downtown? Hey, I know – let’s go to Lowes!

Over the past few months we have slowly allowed pretty much every lightbulb in the house to burn out one by one. Also, last week I faced the humiliation of failing our new hot water heater inspection since we don’t have smoke detectors in all of (okay, any of) the bedrooms upstairs. Plus we also needed an additional carbon monoxide detector. Oh the irony of having all these new detectors to protect us from smoke and carbon monoxide as we’re slowly losing our last remaining brain cells to the shower pan fumes.

Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage

Despite my husband’s reassurances that “it smelled fine” in our bedroom (eyes watering, tongue feels funny), I suggested it might be best to not sleep in our bedroom that night. He took the living room couch and I had the brilliant idea to sneak in bed with the 5 year old so the kids wouldn’t wake me up at the butt-crack of dawn to watch TV on the couch in the TV room.

As it turns out, sleeping with a 5 year old boy is like sleeping with a hot, sweaty pile of elbows and farts. Fortunately, around 3am he figured out that I was his mother instead of a stuffed animal his random punches and elbow jabs turned into cuddles and hugs. The lack of sleep for the night was all forgotten the next morning when I woke up to this sweet little guy.

Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage

Last night he asked me if I was going to sleep in his bed again tonight.

Sorry, little dude. Mom needs some sleep tonight, and I think those fumes just might do the trick.


I just returned home from a lovely hour of die-cutting Valentine hearts at my kids’ school (I’m the room parent for my son’s pre-K class.) All the workers were gone so I decided to open the door to the bathroom and pop my head in for a peek at the progress. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Big Mistake…BIGGG Mistake.”

Some of you may have enjoyed sniffing a Sharpie marker or two in your younger days. Well, whatever that ‘wall of toxic’ that greeted me at the door was, it basically was the scent and brain damage equivalent of every Sharpie marker that has ever been huffed in the history of mankind.

It goes without saying that I didn’t stick around for photos, so since I don’t have any photos of the bathroom today I’m going to show you a photo of my Valentine-party handiwork. Look at those sharp edges!


I’m also going to share with you perhaps the strangest die-cut shape option of all time. I get having hundreds of die-cut plate options to choose from, saving teachers (and us class-parent volunteers) hours of tedious scissor cutting and carpal tunnel syndrome. If there’s ever a shape we need that they don’t have, we can put in a request and most of them make at least a little sense. But who, for any reason ever, would have needed a specific die cut for “Tiny Lima Beans”? And can they really be that much different than the “Tiny Jelly Beans” that we already had?


(There’s a small chance that I’m still under the influence of my Sharpie room.)

To catch up on everything you missed in the previous episode, be sure to visit Episode 1: It Begins

To see what’s next, visit Episode 3. “Where is Everyone?”

Our Bathroom Remodel - Episode 2: Shower Pans May Cause Brain Damage

Once upon a time, Susanne Kerns was a Senior Account Director at an advertising agency working for two of the top brands in the world. Nine years ago she traded in her corporate life for a life as a stay at home mom, raising two of the best kids in the world. She started her blog, The Dusty Parachute as a way to dust off her online advertising skills and begin her job search. Instead, she now uses it as a way to spend lots of time on the computer so her kids think that mommy has a job.

Susanne’s essays have been featured in Scary Mommy, BonBon Break and Redbook and she is also a contributor in the upcoming books, It’s Really 10 Months, Special Delivery and Martinis & Motherhood – Tales of Wonder Woe & WTF?! You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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